One of the things that is the most fruitful and yet most frustrating things that I love about writing, is coming up with a Soundtrack that fits what I am trying to write. I like to have something taking up the space in my head, that helps to focus the tone of my novel as I write it.
Currently, I am writing a novel called “Sand People”, which may seem to suggest a more middle-eastern theme of music, but in reality is a fantasy novel whose settings are mostly not sand-related. The scenery is set on the eastern side of a series of mountains with water nearby, which is predominantly more lush. On the other side of the mountains, though, resides a landscape that is more desert-like, but that still is not where the majority of the story takes place.
“Sand People” has been very difficult to pin down as far as the kind of music I want to listen to for it. It needs something that is not so heavy, and yet not so empty so as to feel like it is a bit soft. It needs to have a quality to it that resonates with the book, and that has been difficult for me. I originally started off with the “Children of Dune” soundtrack, which worked for a bit and then fell off because it got a bit too far afield with the tone. Like a good story, you don’t want to continually be dragged out of the story by some odd word choices or disjointed pacing, or worse, grammar mistakes and misspellings.
Ultimately, I wound up with a particular song from the Da Vinci Code soundtrack by Hans Zimmer, entitled, “Chevaliers De Sangreal.” It has enough of a fantasy feel while still giving a sense of wonder and mystery that I want to make sure I convey in the finished product.
I find it also useful to have different songs for different stories. “Sand People” has a completely different feel from both “Nowhere”, whose feel should be more techno/cyberpunk-ish, and “A Knock at the Door”, which a song like Disturbed’s cover of “The Sound of Silence” or maybe even the “Seven” or “A Beautiful Mind” soundtrack might be good for, where there has to be a great deal of sympathy for the character and what he is going through.
The usefulness of the different songs also helps to put me in the right frame of mind for the story itself. It’s almost a mnemonic device that instantly triggers the story in my head, even though I never associated the story, before, to such a song. It just fits the mental image of what I have in mind and moves my brain toward the part needed to write what I need to write.
Do you feel this way about any of the books you have read? Do certain songs just come to mind as you read them? Let me know in the comments!
See you soon!!!